NORWICH CITY 1 CITY 1
League Cup 2nd Round
2nd September 1975
Ref Brian Daniels
City Corrigan, Clements, Donachie, Doyle, Watson, Oakes, Hartford, Bell, Royle, Marsh, Tueart – sub Barnes
Norwich Keelan, Machin, Butler, Morris, Forbes, Powell, Grapes, MacDougall, Boyer, Suggett, Peters
THE RELIEF on everyone’s face in the dressing room at Carrow Road at full time last Wednesday night said it all. We’d got a result, we had scored our first away goal of the season and had proved that we are a team capable of showing character and
delivering the goods when we go on our travels this season.
Relief was not due to any inferiority complex. Just the ridding of tensions caused through the increasing suggestions that we are only capable of adding to our reputation as bad travellers.
We never expected it to be anything like our opening match of the season when we licked Norwich 3-0 in the League at Maine Road. They had been putting on a fair amount of style in their home efforts, not only being unbeaten prior to our visit but collecting nine goals from their two games. I knew a Cup tie at Norwich would be as hard as anything we would encounter on our travels in the First Division this season.
At half time I told one player in my team that he was the man capable of getting us a result. To our giant goalkeeper, Joe Corrigan, I said simply: `If anyone is going to keep us in the League Cup tonight, that person can be you.’
I had that private chat with Joe because I sensed that if he kept fully on his toes and dominated the goal area we could survive their pressures. Because of the way they were feeding the ball into our danger zone I knew that a lot would depend on Joe’s ability, and he’d risen to the occasion in the first half with a tremendous early save from Ted MacDougall.
What I told Joe proved prophetic. He was the one who got us the result at the finish. His saves in the closing minutes when Norwich probed fiercely to try and regain the lead were of the highest class-and kept us at 1-1.
Norwich are a different proposition now they have Phil Boyer back in the team, especially on their own ground. Their midfield played well and Peter Morris dominated quite a lot of the game for them.
MacDougall and Boyer work exceptionally well off each other-as well as any striking partnership I have seen in soccer this season. They pumped balls up the middle and they got a series of good centres in, which required our defence to maintain their alert to the maximum.
The lads at the back did their jobs to the letter. Dave Watson, Mike Doyle, Kenny Clements, Willie Donachie, and Alan Oakes, whom we used as a ‘sweeper’ until we conceded a 79th minute goal, fought off the challenges and denied the Norwich forwards the space they needed to capitalise on their talents.
I do not like complaining about refereeing decisions, but I was a little disturbed with the free kick Norwich were awarded which led to their goal. I thought it was a little harsh, and when Norwich converted the opportunity into a goal through an uncharacteristic lapse by Dave Watson my hopes were pinned on, the fact that the City lads would show their resilience and now accept that the Fates are against us when we’re away from home.
In a Cup tie it is sudden death, and obviously we had to change our tactics from that moment forward. Pushing Dave Watson into an attacking position did a lot for us. It was no good sitting back and accepting the situation, even though there were only 11 minutes left.
Dave made a great deal of difference. He unsettled them a lot, and this lifted the extra effort from everyone around him. I doubt whether one of the lads could describe the joy felt when Kenny Clements whipped in a splendid centre from the right which Dave crashed into the Norwich net as he burst in at the far post.
I do not regret having played a`sweeper’ until that late stage. It was necessary against a team with a goal-mood, and Alan Oakes filled the role well. Rodney Marsh played in midfield with Colin Bell and Asa Hartford and this trio never shirked their work. Up front we had Joe Royle and Dennis Tueart; and their work-rate was enormous. They had a lot of donkey work to do because the situation demanded it, and they never relented.
The team knew it was a critical game, and this point was underlined to them before the took the field. Not only so that we could spike the suggestions that we are incapable of an away performance, but to try and sustain a League Cup run which is important to the club’s financial position.
Taken from Tony Book’s notes in the City programme 17th September 1975
‘I’ve Never Been So Relieved’ Says Dave watson
I HAD scored 47 goals for my three previous clubs before City went to Norwich last week, and I can assure you most sincerely that I have never been so happy to hit the net as I was in the 85th minute of that second round League Cup tie.No prizes for guessing why. Six minutes earlier I had made the fluff that let Norwich in for the goal which gave them the lead, and I swear that as I lay on the ground cursing the error which gave Ted MacDougall his scoring chance I would have been prepared to crawl into the nearest hole. That’s how ashamed I felt. I will be re-living that boob for a long time to come, and since the television cameras were at the game there is little likelihood that I will get the chance to forget it when they dig out action for future shows. I was annoyed even before the incident happened. I had been running back to our goal with Ted MacDougall, going to knock the ball into the hands of Joe Corrigan, when the referee awarded Norwich a free kick. I am still mystified what the reasoning was behind his decision. From the award Martin Peters caught the ball with the outside of his right foot,
but as the effort came at me it hit my left thigh and just rolled beyond me towards the goal. I went to kick it over the bar to concede a corner, but the ball never bounced as I expected it to-and that stunned me. So as I was stretching at it, all I managed was a lame toe punt and MacDougall nipped in sharpish to put the ball past Joe.I knew the Norwich striker had been lurking around, which is why I had quickly worked out in my mind to go for a safety clearance with a half-volley. In all, it
was a disaster.
My team-mates were very good about it. No rucking, no abuse. Well, you wouldn’t have had to be a person of great understanding to realise how I was feeling at that moment. Straight away our skipper, Rodney Marsh, told me to go up front. I don’t know whether he’d received the instructions from the trainer’s bench, but he indicated that I should move forward.
At first I said `no.’ I didn’t want to go into attack for us to be exposed at the back and I told Rodney that I’d stay where I was. But within a couple of minutes he was back at me insisting that I got among our forwards-and so I went. I was still sceptical about making the switch. But those were my instructions and I followed them out. I also realised it was a heaven-sent chance to make amends. And now you’ll know why that six minutes after my mistake had seemingly put Norwich on the way into the third round, I look on my goal-scoring feat as the happiest finishing act I have ever performed.
I thought an opportunity looked on from the moment Kenny Clements advanced from deep on the right. I signalled for him to swing in a cross to the far post, which was only a short run away for me.The ball came over and two Norwich defenders lunged forward along with Joe Royle. The home ‘keeper, Kevin Keelan, didn’t know whether to come for it or stay on his
line with these three players lunging towards him-and he stayed, with the ball sweeping high past this group.It must have come to me about six-foot in the air and for a split second I didn’t know whether I should head the ball or strike it with my boot. I could have done either. I was airborne by the time it reached the far post and I decided to connect with my right boot. What a glorious sight to see the ball shoot high into the net. My only fear had been that I might miss it altogether because it was zipping across the penalty area very quickly indeed. And being so high in the air there was a chance it could have skied over. But those were the gloomy thoughts, they barely lasted a second, and who wants to waste time thinking about the wrong way it could have gone. I’m just relieved that Keelan decided to stay on his goal-line because once it got through the penalty area he had no chance whatsoever.
I’ve reflected on that tie a fair bit since. We didn’t play really well, not as convincingly as we performed at Aston Villa when we got nothing for our display. The team played defensively a fair amount and this aspect of the game was very good.
To come out of it with a draw was a particular relief for me. I cannot confess to being happy because I was still incensed with myself for making such a daft mistake.
FROM AN ARTICLE ENTITLED ‘I’VE NEVER BEEN SO RELIEVED SAYS DAVE WATSON FROM CITY PROGRAMME 17TH SEPTEMBER 1975
WHAT THE PRESS SAID
There were two magic moments from the Northerners just before the break. The first came in the 38th minute when an Oakes free kick was quickly gathered by Marsh who. summing up the situation perfectly, tried the most delicate of chips over Keelan’s head… It hit the bar and and Tueart, with his back to the goal, performed a feat of incredible acrobatic agility with an overhead kick as he was falling and Keelan did well to hold it.
Until the blunder by Watson Manchester seemed to have found an answer to the threat of Norwich’s two musketeers, MacDougall and Phil Boyer.But it needed six men to do it. Manchester came with a presidential guard stretched across their goal face to counter what is currently the liveliest duo in the league.